Saturday, January 07, 2006

TOPIC: Men Bashing In The Media
This is a topic that's been on my mind for quite some time now. I have some time today, so this is going to be a long post -- particularly because this is an important topic to me (and to all men).
There are dozens of webpages and blogs highlighting an issue that is prevalent in American media, especially TV commercials.
The problem: "Stupid Guy"
Men are continually portrayed as stupid in commercials and TV shows. Do you EVER see a woman portrayed as ignorant in a commercial? Nope. THINK about it... Look at Vonage commercials; Sprint commercials; Circuit City commercials... and the list goes on. Men are shown as morons, while women are shown as intelligent, sexy and in control of the situation. Even the ADT commercial shows the man as a cowering wimp, while the woman is the authoritative figure in the household.
Dr. James Dobson wrote a book entitled "Bringing Up Boys". In his book, he summed up the situation quite well...
"It is interesting to note, for example, how disrespect for men pervades the entertainment industry, including many television commercials. The formula involves a beautiful woman (or a bevy of them) who is intelligent, sexy, admirable and self-assured. She encounters a slob of a man, usually in a bar, who is a braggadocio, ignorant, balding and overweight. The stupid guy, as I will call him, quickly disgraces himself on screen, at which point the woman sneers or walks away.
So what is going on here? Is it possible that men, especially male beer drinkers and sports-car enthusiasts, actually like being depicted as dumb, horny, fat, nerdy and ugly? Apparently they do. We also have to assume that guys are not offended when they are made the butt of a thousand jokes. But why? Women would not tolerate that kind of derision. You'll note that the polarity of the stupid guy ads is never reversed. Not in a million years would you see a corpulent, unattractive woman lusting after a good-looking man who shows disdain for her as she does something ridiculous. Men, however, don't seem to notice that the joke is on them.
Television sitcoms also blast away at traditional masculinity, much like a wrecking ball crashing into a building. After enough direct hits, the structure begins to crumble. There is not a single example, as I write, of a healthy family depicted on network programming that includes a masculine guy who loves his kids and is respected by his wife. None!"
Dr. Dobson's group, Focus on the Family, published a webpage asking the question "Is Your Son Glad To Be A Boy?" In the era of open male bashing, the question is a legitimate one. Is "Stupid Guy" real or imagined only by the Christian right? shows that the problem not only occurs on American TV, but around the world. A quoted statistic (from the link above) shows, "The number of complaints made by men about how men are portrayed in ads is up according to the Advertising Standards Board (Australia) ... This year complaints of sex discrimination in ads by men account for 39 per cent of all sex discrimination complaints about ads. In 2001 the figure was 24 per cent."
Glenn Sacks' son asked him why he was being bash just for being a boy. This started a campaign that helped bring the problem to the national spotlight. Sacks noted the problem and (thankfully) did something about it -- "Why I Launched the Campaign Against 'Boys are Stupid' Products" targeted a very offensive group of products that touted boy-bashing -- because "boys are stupid". What kind of people are perpetuating such nonsense and hatred?
Are you still doubting what I'm telling you here? Here's more proof... Mens News Daily says,
"one 2000 study by the National Fatherhood Initiative analyzed how fathers were portrayed in 102 shows during prime time television. Each show that included a father as a central, recurring character was rated in terms of how the father came across -- as an inept Homer Simpson or as a wise Father Knows Best. Among the 102 shows, only 4 presented the father as involved and competent. Thus, in prime time TV, fathers usually did not exist. And when they did appear, they were depicted as morons, deadbeats, abusers, or worse. On the silver screen, masculine characters fare no better. According to an article in the July/August 2002 issue of American Enterprise, movies routinely portray men as "insecure, hesitant, angst-ridden, self-centered, and ineffectual."
Trudy Schuett, in the Desert Light Journal (neat blog), wrote an excellent article regarding how men are taking a beating in the media (among other things). THANKFULLY, there are women who see the problem for what it is. Ms. Schuett wrote,
"When activists complain to the various media or their advertisers about specific incidents, the response is usually that it was intended as a joke. However, if the situation were reversed, and a woman was the one being slapped around, or too stupid to take care of her kids -- well, that kind of presentation would never even be considered. You can't show that kind of disrespect to a woman. So why is it OK to show this kind of disrespect to a man? Why is it OK to promote violence of any kind among families or friends?"
Another female, Kerry Marsala, writes the Capitol Hill Coffee House. In the blog, Ms. Marsala offers a great article on the topic of male bashing. One excerpt worth quoting says,
"Watch the comedy show Raymond for a few episodes and you will witness how Raymond's TV wife and mother treat him. Sure it's comedy, but it seems to be the reflection of an overall prevailing attitude from American women in general--- personified in a half-hour sitcom. Men are looked at as being louses, who are insensitive, dumb, clueless, cave men. Just because men think differently and buy tickets to the Superbowl instead of the ballet for our anniversary present doesn’t make them bad guys."
Do you see men continually portrayed as idiots? I do and I'm sick of it.
Let me know what you think.

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